In the last few weeks, many Silicon Valley giants have condemned Trump’s travel ban. Executives from tech firms like Apple, Facebook, and Netflix have spoken out against the ban, and many more have implemented fundraising programs to help refugees and other displaced people get access to resources. But one tech company is providing direct assistance by connecting refugees with people willing to host them around the world—for free.
On February 5, the founders of Airbnb announced their goal to find free short-term housing for 100,000 displaced people, including refugees and survivors of natural disasters, over the next five years. Airbnb will also donate $4 million over the next four years to the International Rescue Committee, to ensure that these displaced populations receive the resources they desperately need.
This is not the first time Airbnb has reached out to help people in crisis. Back in October 2015, they added a donation tool to their website to provide financial aid to refugees and their families. Last year, partnering with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Mercy Corps, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Airbnb promised to match all donations up to $1 million.
Recognizing their unique capacity to provide housing worldwide (there are over 2 million properties listed on the site), Airbnb has additionally offered temporary housing for relief workers from Mercy Corps and IRC while they work to provide assistance to displaced people in Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia.
According to their website, “Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where people can feel like they belong anywhere they go and we proudly support refugees as they integrate into new communities around the world.”
Despite the halt imposed on Trump’s travel ban last week, many refugees and their families are still stranded worldwide after they were not allowed to board their US-bound flights. And according to UNHCR, in 2015 over 65 million people were displaced from their homes in places such as the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. All of these people must now scramble for temporary housing and resources.
On January 28, CEO Brian Chesky tweeted, “Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing.”
Airbnb will connect refugees and other displaced people with hosts willing to share their homes for no charge.
There is a new webpage on the Airbnb website where homeowners can volunteer their space to house refugees and survivors of national disasters. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming, with people worldwide volunteering to host for free.
Visit https://www.airbnb.com/weaccept/ for more information.